Berlin's Senate has approved a sweeping reform of the city's housing policy, limiting rents on close to 400,000 public housing units to no more than 30 percent of a household income.
In a policy change expected to go into effect on January 1, 2016, rental costs for public housing units in Berlin will be tied to household income. Feargus O'Sullivan of CityLab reports that the change will affect 125,000 public housing units and 280,000 units from state-owned housing companies. To qualify for social or state-owned housing, tenants are currently limited to an annual income of $18,040 for single people and $27,060 for couples (figures in U.S. dollars).
From now on, low-income tenants in these homes will have a guarantee that rent rises will not price them out…
People on low incomes living in social- or state-owned housing will pay no more than a third of their gross income in rent. For tenants in a few buildings with especially high energy costs, that ceiling will be dropped to 25 percent of gross income.
The change, O'Sullivan reports, will allow renters in fast gentrifying neighborhoods to remain in-place with greater protections. Support for renter rights is strong in Berlin, and across Germany, due to the high numbers of renters—estimated at 85 percent of households in Berlin.
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